Don't be a good loser. And watch out for Clarkson...

A lot of pride will be at stake at the British Press Awards on Tuesday. But with the Piers Morgan 10-point survival guide, everyone can retain their dignity. Well, the winners anyway
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The Independent Online

1: If you see Jeremy Clarkson, and he is sweating, has wonky eyes, and keeps abusing everyone who goes up on stage then be very careful. I made the fatal error last year of seeing him in this state and then jokily inviting him to punch me on the head, which is precisely what he then did a few hours later. Three times, quite hard, right smack on the bonce. I still have a neat two-inch scar from his ring down the right side of my forehead. Never could stand jewellery on a man.

1: If you see Jeremy Clarkson, and he is sweating, has wonky eyes, and keeps abusing everyone who goes up on stage then be very careful. I made the fatal error last year of seeing him in this state and then jokily inviting him to punch me on the head, which is precisely what he then did a few hours later. Three times, quite hard, right smack on the bonce. I still have a neat two-inch scar from his ring down the right side of my forehead. Never could stand jewellery on a man.

2: A tip to editors: If you win Newspaper of the Year then for goodness sake enjoy yourself. It's almost certainly never going to happen again in your editing career, so get up there, scream and shout, call your entire executive team up too for an on-stage conga, and don't forget to taunt your sad-loser rivals with jeers such as "Still ain't got no silverware" and "You're shit and you know you are." Trust me, they will be doing exactly the same to you when they win.

3: Don't leave an award in the hands of any of your report-ers. They never know how to behave at these awards ceremonies, a combination of low salaries and alcohol-related issues. By midnight every reporter in the room will be hopelessly drunk and if entrusted to safeguard an award will immediately smash it to pieces. This happened when the Mirror won the team reporting gong for our coverage of the Omagh tragedy.

I feared the worst when I heard that Fleet Street legend Don "Blackie the Donkey" Mackay had taken charge of the gong. Don has many great qualities but none of them include an ability to hold a Press Gazette award while fuelled with booze for more than about five seconds without dropping it. He didn't let me down.

4: If you must make a speech, and personally I think they should be compulsory for all gleeful winners and, more especially, seething losers, then make it short and funny. The best I have ever heard was by the Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell in 2003, who marched up to the podium, grabbed the mike, shouted "Fuck the war!" and marched off. Magnificent.

5: Don't, whatever you do, start heckling the host, particularly if they are smarter or funnier than you. I tried it with Clive Anderson once by drunkenly shouting, "You finished yet Clive?" to which he simply grinned and replied, "No, but you will be soon at the Mirror, Piers." At which point the entire audience rose as one to cheer him and laugh at my humiliation. This year's host, Andrew Marr, is arguably not quite as amusing as Anderson, but he's cleverer. So leave the heckles in your room.

6: If you see Paul Dacre there then just go home. It means he's won Newspaper of the Year because the only time he ever goes is if he's won Newspaper of the Year.

And the Mail wins it most years, for no real reason I suspect other than to ensure a rare live sighting of Mr Dacre outside his Kensington lair. If you're a young journalist at your first awards, then don't hesitate to go up and chat to Paul. He's an approachable kind of guy and will love to hear you telling him where he's going wrong, and what a malevolent influence he and his paper are on public life. Particularly if you are slurring your words, have a peroxide bimbo on your arm, and are smoking a large spliff.

7: It is completely unacceptable to boo and hiss every time one of your rivals gets a nomination, or wins an award. But it's also very cathartic and I would warmly encourage it. Save your most extreme bitter and twisted verbal venom for journalists from The Guardian. It really, really disgusts them. I once gatecrashed their celebratory party in some fancy Hilton suite and let them know my thoughts on their "triumph". I honestly thought they were going to beat me to death with their sandals.

8: Don't be a good loser. There are loads of those out there and it gets you absolutely nowhere. Hunt down the editor of Press Gazette and give him such an unbelievable ferreting that he won't even think about not letting you win next year. It's worth promising him a few adverts at the same time. The combination of physical threat and a few quid in his poverty-stricken coffers is very powerful.

9: If you work for a red-top tabloid then just lie back and accept that most of the nominations go to broadsheet papers, and will continue to do even though most of them are now tabloid too. There is no logical reason for this other than rank snobbery, and a ludicrous love of long words and interminably dull headlines by the awards judges. They can be nobbled though, so nobble them.

10: Whatever you do, don't be tempted to dance at the after-show party. Journalists cannot dance, shouldn't be allowed to dance, and if they do dance will almost always cause permanent damage to their already shattered reputations. Far better to sit in a dimly-lit corner of the room taking the piss out of all those fools who do strut their vile stuff.

PS Remember, it's not the taking part that matters, or even being nominated. It's the winning.

Piers Morgan's 'The Insider - Diaries of a Scandalous Decade' is out now, published by Ebury at £17.99

SHORTLISTS FOR THE MAIN AWARDS

Newspaper of the Year: The Independent, Daily Mail, Metro, News of the World, Observer, Sunday Telegraph

Scoop of the Year: NoW: Beckham Affair; NoW: Sven affair; NoW: Blunkett affair; Daily Mail: Revealed: nanny got her visa in 19 days; The Sun: Hutton leaked; Sunday Telegraph: Blunkett's lover accuses him of fast-tracking visa for her nanny

Columnist of the Year: Allison Pearson ( Evening Standard); Janice Turner ( The Times); Jenny McCartney ( Sunday Telegraph); Craig Brown ( Daily Telegraph); Peter Hitchens ( Mail on Sunday); Jim Shelley ( Daily Mirror)

Interviewer of the Year: Emma Brockes ( The Guardian); Robert Chalmers ( The Independent on Sunday); Ariel Leve ( Sunday Times); John Preston ( Sunday Telegraph); Deborah Ross ( The Independent); Alan Franks ( The Times)

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